Business

SAS defies recession, increases revenue and reputation

Posted January 21, 2010 8:46 a.m. EST
Updated January 21, 2010 2:31 p.m. EST

— Defying a global recession, SAS reported a 34th consecutive year of revenue growth in 2009 as sales increased 2.2 percent to $2.31 billion.

Meanwhile, SAS also reported Thursday that it has been selected as the best place to work in Fortune magazine’s annual "100 Best Companies To Work For" list. It's the first time SAS, a regular member of the top 100, has topped the list.

Last fall at its annual media day, SAS executives including co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jim Goodnight conceded that the global software firm might not set another revenue record.

SAS has increased sales ever since its founding.

“Our continued growth in 2009 is further proof that investing in long-term relationships with customers and employees and maintaining a deep commitment to R&D pays,” said Goodnight in a statement. “We not only weathered the downturn, we came out ahead.”

Although it is privately held, SAS does report annually on overall sales and how revenues broke down.

Last year, software revenues increased 3.3 percent, the company said. It also makes revenues for other services and training.

Meanwhile, SAS stayed consistent with its investment in research and development, with 23 percent of revenues going toward product design and improvement.

SAS also avoided layoffs although it did make some internal adjustments in its work force.

“In January, I told employees there would be no layoffs,” Goodnight said. “I wanted them to stay focused on customer needs and not be distracted by issues related to corporate viability. The result is that we continued to grow in the downturn and we are ready to launch exciting new products in 2010. The momentum is greater than it’s ever been for this company.”

The Fortune selection is something that Goodnight values highly. He takes great pride in SAS’ low employee turnover rate, insisting that people are the company’s most valuable asset.

SAS has made the Fortune list every year since the magazine launched it in 1998. The company has been in the top five on five occasions and in the top 10 seven times.

Two other high-tech firms with a big presence in the Research Triangle Park area also made the Fortune list. NetApp placed seventh and Cisco 16th.